Can you believe that Memorial Day is already here?! For most of us, this means the [un]official start to summer has begun! It also means that our kids are out of school until the fall, so there is sure to be lots of time that we are forced to be outside by the pool, at the beach, etc. [See Kaston’s last day of Pre-K pic above with his teacher; I’m a proud Mom ;)]. I say “forced”, because many people seem to feel a lot of anxiety with these hotter months, knowing that it means summer attire and feeling like we need to look our best – thanks to the hot sun and lovely humidity many of us around the country get to experience.
While some parts of the country still seem to be rainy and quite cool for this time of year, the daunting reality that summer and all of its anxieties will be here before we know it is a fact. [Here in Dallas, it seems that the summer heat has already been stalking us for weeks!] Thankfully though, we still have a little bit of time both mentally – and physically – to prepare ourselves before summer “officially” arrives, especially for those of us who don’t feel like we are at our summer best yet.
You know, it’s never too late to start a new habit and to start working at feeling – and looking – your best! In many cases, it only takes a few small changes to start seeing big results, so don’t feel like you need to drastically change your lifestyle in one sweep! You can still enjoy your parties – and life – without feeling like you’re missing out!
So, instead of letting this 3-day weekend be a time where we let many of our indiscretions go out the window due to the BBQ’s, food, and drinks that are sure to be flowing – and where overindulging is usually just part of the game – let this extended weekend be the start to your new way of living!
Here are 10 of my favorite BBQ/party substitution tips that will ensure you get all the bang, with a little less of the buck (aka, all the flavor without all the fat and calories):
- Add club soda into your cocktail instead of typical soda or even tonic water, (which surprisingly is nothing like water at all). This will save on both calories and sugar grams. Plus, it will give your drink a unique, refreshing spin that I personally love.
- When it comes to drinking, switch between cocktails and water – especially when it’s hot. A lot of the time you will feel parched and so will continue to drink your cocktail when, in actuality, it’s what’s making you even more dehydrated. Drinking water will not only decrease the amount of alcohol you consume (since your body can only hold so much liquid), it will also help to keep away your next-day hangover.
- Kombucha is another great alcohol alternative which not only makes not drinking alcoholic beverages that much easier (especially while pregnant!) – thanks to their great taste and fizzy mouth-feel – they help aid in digestion as well.
- Use veggie chips or even protein or bean-based chips or crackers to dip, instead of your typical potato chips. (I know these may sound kind-of funky, but there really are sooo many great chips and crackers out there these days to choose from; you really can find snacks that are good for your nutrition and taste buds!) Other types of baked chips are also fine, just check the label and make sure there are not added fats or additives. Or go for flaxseed crackers – these have tons of fiber, which is never a bad thing.
- Use Organic Greek yogurt (or a dairy-free alternative) instead of sour cream or mayo in dressings, dips, and spreads. This will save tons of calories and fat. Plus, it taste really good!
- Snack on fruit or veggies instead of all the other apps that are usually offered at such events, or at least add a good sized portion of them to your plate. These will not only help to refresh and hydrate you, but will also fill you up faster, so you won’t eat as much of the unhealthy stuff.
- Eat shrimp cocktail or chicken skewers instead of the bacon-wrapped [anything!], or the fried and/or cheesy hot apps. The protein will help fill you up without all the added calories and fat.
- If you’re a meat eater and love your burgers, go for an Organic, Grass-fed option. I recently discovered TRIBALI Foods (for my family, since I don’t eat meat) – and love what they’re made of and what they stand for! (You can check them out, HERE). And when it comes to the buns: I recommend going “animal-style” and eating your burger with a lettuce wrap instead, or even keeping it open-faced so you are only getting half the carbs and calories you would otherwise.
- Grilled fish or even fish “burgers” are also a great choice! Just make sure you go with “wild” varieties, because farm-raised fish are often loaded with artificial foods, grains, colors, additives, etc.
- Add some watermelon or berries to your dessert plate instead of taking a larger piece of pie or other type of pastry or dessert. This will also help to fill you up faster, saving you both calories and an inevitable stomachache after eating and drinking all day.
Eating healthy is not as hard as people think and can actually be just as, if not even more, enjoyable than eating loads of processed food and junk. You just have to know how to do it right!
Take these suggestions with you to your Memorial Day festivities and I guarantee that you will be thanking me the next morning – when you can actually get out of bed without a pounding headache and awful stomachache!
And as a side-note, don’t forget to honor your Service Members and to say an extra prayer for all of those families who have lost someone in the fight to help make our country what it is today. This is what Memorial Day truly is about – and we should never forget that!